Demba Ba: Which of His Potential Buyers Needs Him the Most Right Now?
Demba Ba is a man in demand.
As things stand right now, the Senegalese hit-man sits just off the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts with 11 goals in 17 games and has been a rare source of inspiration for the mysteriously struggling Newcastle United this season.
Formidable in the air, impressive with the ball at his feet and a tower of strength up front for the Magpies, Ba was at his imperious best in the first half of the previous Premier League campaign as well.
The arrival of Papiss Cisse in January and the lack of chemistry of the duo on the pitch led to Ba taking a backseat though, and the former Hoffenheim man went through a rough and fairly lengthy spell without finding the back of the net.
Of course, things change quickly in football, and Ba is back to his goalscoring ways as the 2012-13 campaign approaches its halfway point, even as Cisse struggles to find form.
Truth is, Demba Ba isn't just any centre forward, and this isn't just a random purple patch. He's top notch and, indeed, deserving of all the attention coming his way presently.
I don't think I'd be stretching it if I were to call him a poor man's Didier Drogba.
Now, with the new year soon to come, and with it the January transfer window, we observe the interested parties for Demba Ba to decipher how much truth there is to the rumors doing the rounds and to assess who could do most with the man who has become a figure of adoration on Tyneside.
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Demba Ba has gone public with his desire to play for Arsenal.
Ba made a confession on Canal+, stating that Arsenal are a club that "makes you dream." As I see it, this is a blatant come-and-get-me plea from the player to Arsene Wenger, who claims to have the funds available to add fresh players to the club's roster.
Olivier Giroud has been at the end of some harsh criticism since the season commenced, but he's been doing fine recently, chipping in with both goals and assists for his side.
Arsenal's other chief sources for goals are Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and the rather erratic Gervinho.
Rumor has it that Walcott, who has been Arsenal's top scorer this season, wishes to leave the club, and the possibility of his departure in January itself is very real.
This is why Arsenal fans must be warming to the idea of having Ba at the Emirates. The arrival of a striker of his physical prowess and impressive scoring record will do the Gunners no harm and will give them a good shot at a top-four league finish and an extended run in the Champions League.
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I've always felt Luis Suarez has too much of a burden to shoulder at Liverpool and could do with some help up front.
The midfield rarely chips in with goals, and whenever Suarez misses a game, Liverpool's big problem comes to light. The goals suddenly dry up.
Fabio Borini was supposed to be a major part of the supporting cast for the Uruguayan, but he finds himself on the treatment table with a broken foot, and it may yet be a while before he returns.
Demba Ba sure knows his way to goal, and when you consider that his £7million buyout clause is still active, signing him up would definitely be a step in the right direction from Brendan Rodgers.
Now, his wage demands could be a real hurdle here. It's not like Liverpool don't have the money to pay their players well, nor do I believe Ba is a mercenary, but the Reds will have to consider whether he is worthy of such a healthy pay packet.
After all, there are big earners like Joe Cole at the club who spend the majority of their time warming the bench, so this is certainly something to think about.
Nonetheless, from my point of view, the prolific Ba would be a great signing for Liverpool.
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In all honesty, it's time Roman Abramovich accepts his mistake and resolves to move on. Even as I say it, I know that's very unlikely.
It's a real mess right now at Chelsea, but the transfer market is close at hand, and it might be time to start plugging the gaps.
With Daniel Sturridge seemingly off to Liverpool, Chelsea short on cover and Torres frequently short on confidence, there will definitely be activity at the club next month.
Ba, whose hold up play is second to none in the Premier League, arguably represents a better purchase than Falcao, Klaas Jan Huntelaar or Fernando Llorente.
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If I were to predict, I'd say Arsenal will win this particular tussle and land Demba Ba.
Anzhi Makhachkala had recently been linked with him as well, but the club have strikers aplenty in their squad already, and with captain Samuel Eto'o showing no signs of slowing down just yet, I think they'll be just fine without the man.
Tottenham Hotspurs could easily spring a surprise here, but I suspect Andre Villas Boas' focus is on landing one of Loic Remy or Fernando Llorente instead.
Ba could always stay on at Newcastle, who could be set for an intense relegation battle if things don't change soon.
What colours do you see Ba wearing come February 1st?